WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel announced Dec. 19 that it has filed multiple consolidated complaints against McDonald's USA LLC and the company's franchisees, as joint employers, alleging violations of employees' rights.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans reached a provisional settlement on their claims that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs), a Dec. 16 notice issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois indicated (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.).
PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert opined that a woman's fatal disease arose from take-home exposures, but he never linked her specific exposures to the disease as required by the asbestos multidistrict litigation guidelines, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held in affirming dismissal of the case on Dec. 17 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Angie Smiddy, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. 13-4423, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23735).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A woman's request for a new trial fails because she made a tactical decision to forgo such relief after a defendant violated an evidence order, an Illinois appeals court held Dec. 16 (Carol Holloway v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, No. 4-13-1118, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 15 certified a class of steakhouse workers alleging that their employer improperly administered its tip pool but denied the workers' partial motion for summary judgment, finding that a reasonable juror could determine that the operation of the tip pool was proper (Amy Starr, et al. v. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, LLC, No. 12-4416, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172645).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Dec. 12 granted final approval of a $250,000 settlement of a class complaint accusing a New Jersey employer of failing to pay for travel time and the correct prevailing wage rate (John Mulroy, et al. v. National Water Main Cleaning Company of New Jersey, No. 12-3669, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171904).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 rejected a claim of "trial by formula" and upheld the certification of 187,979 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's Club (collectively, Wal-Mart) workers who brought a wage-and-hour suit and a more than $187 million award for those workers (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 32 EAP 2012, Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 33 EAP 2012, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3324).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 11 granted conditional certification in a wage suit filed by a home health care aide but limited the class to those individuals within Pennsylvania, finding that the lead plaintiff failed to produce evidence supporting a nationwide class (Markisha Gordon, et al. v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., No. 13-7175, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172054).
SAN DIEGO - A California appellate panel on Dec. 10 upheld a trial court's denial of certification to two classes of workers who allege that they were denied lawfully owed breaks, required to perform work off the clock and subjected to improper rounding of work time (Emerita V. Chavez, et al. v. Angelica Corporation, No. D063199, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8767).
NEW ORLEANS - Even five days of alleged asbestos exposure constitute a potential substantial cause of a man's asbestosis, a Louisiana appeals court panel held Dec. 10 in reversing summary judgment for an employer (Edward Anthony Alberes, et al. v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-1549, La. App., 5th Cir.; 2014 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 706).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 15 invited the solicitor general to weigh in on whether the court should grant review of a divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts Vermont's health care data collection law as applied to a self-funded ERISA benefit plan (Alfred J. Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, No. 14-181, U.S. Sup.).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands federal judge on Dec. 11 found that the court did not err when it previously refused to allow an internal revenue worker's experts to testify on causation in relation to her alleged mold-related injuries and refused to grant her a new trial (Lorraine Smith v. Sydney Katz, No. 2010-39, D. Virgin Islands; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47493).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board majority on Dec. 11 overruled its divided 2007 decision in Register Guard (351 NLRB 1110) to the extent that it holds that employees can have no statutory right to use their employer's email systems for personal use and granted limited statutory protection (Purple Communications, Inc. and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Nos. 21-CA-095151, 21-RC-091531 and 21-RC-091584, NLRB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A pro-life employer and the government filed supplemental briefs on Dec. 10 in the District of Columbia federal court on the impact of a recent District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate (March for Life, Jeanne F. Monahan and Bethany A. Goodman v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-1149, D. D.C.).
SEATTLE - The en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 10 upheld a $300,000 punitive damages verdict in a sexual harassment case despite the fact that only nominal damages were awarded, finding that the verdict did not violate due process (State of Arizona, et al. v. ASARCO LLC, No. 11-17484, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23255).
PHILADELPHIA - An employee's claim of whistle-blower retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act is subject to arbitration, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8, upholding a trial court ruling (Boris Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, et al., No. 14-1689, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23098).
CHICAGO - An Indiana police officer who was paid only a small portion of his longevity benefit for the preceding year due to time away for military service is owed his full payment under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 9 (Robert D. DeLee v. City of Plymouth, Indiana, No. 14-1970, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23148).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in exercising jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment lawsuit, affirming the lower court's ruling that a hay wagon driver's injury is not covered under a commercial general liability insurance policy because the driver is an "employee" under the policy (Western World Insurance Co. v. Burt Hoey, et al., No. 13-2388, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23036).
NEW ORLEANS - A welder failed to prove that his former employer subjected him to harassment and discrimination based on his race or retaliated against him based on his complaints, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 4, upholding a trial court's ruling (Warren R. Watkins v. Recreation and Park Commission for the City of Baton Rouge, No. 14-30346, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22862).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The time warehouse workers spend waiting to undergo and actually undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Dec. 9 (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, et al., No. 13-433, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 8293).
ATLANTA - After finding that all jurisdictional prerequisites were met and that a seaman's claims against his employer fell within the scope of a collective bargaining agreement, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 affirmed a court's ruling compelling arbitration under Italian law (Ralph Jonathan Alvarado Vera v. Cruise Ships Catering and Services International, et al., No. 14-12494, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23004).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 3 reversed a nearly $2.48 million jury verdict for a warehouse worker who alleges age discrimination, finding several errors that necessitate a new trial (Alfonso W. January v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-56171, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22695).
DENVER - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by terminating benefits under the any-reasonable-occupation disability standard of a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, despite a contrary determination by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under the SSA all-occupation disability standard, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 3 (Christy M. Liebel v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 14-6046, 10th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A plan sponsor breached its obligations under a supplemental retirement plan by terminating monthly benefits and paying a lump sum to the plan participants pursuant to a change-in-control provision, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering the plan to reinstate the monthly benefits and take a credit for the amount of the lump sums paid, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 3 in an unpublished opinion (Daniel E. Gill, et al. v. Bausch & Lomb Supplemental Retirement Income Plan I, et al., No. 14-1058, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22980).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Answering three certified questions from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the affirmative, the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4 found that although the estate of a deceased employee of an insured has standing to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against the insured's employer's workers' compensation and employer liability insurer, a workers' compensation exclusion and release prevent the estate from collecting a $9.5 million wrongful death judgment from the insurer (Leticia Morales, et al. v. Zenith Insurance Co., No. SC13-696, Fla. Sup.; 2014 Fla. LEXIS 3555).